Starting your own home bar can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be; make it fun by using a bar cart and think of stocking your home bar as a marathon rather than a sprint. Begin by rounding up the ingredients for cocktails you already enjoy and know how to make relatively well. For some ideas, we asked Craig Rudewicz, owner and creator of Raleigh’s Crude Bitters and The Bittery, for advice on building a bar that’s stocked for making Manhattans and Old Fashioneds and what tools of the trade—all available at The Bittery—will come in handy.
Then, add the alcohol
“I always recommend having five types: bourbon, rye, rum, gin, and vodka, as those can help with almost all classic cocktails and allow people to branch out. A decent bottle of sweet vermouth ($10-15) is also a good idea to have when planning out cocktails.”
Rudewicz also recommends trying out new brands.
“Don’t just stick with one type. Many whiskeys, and especially gins, have different flavors and/or botanicals, so changing it up from time to time will showcase how mixing drinks can be like cooking food.”
Rudewicz suggests these two books for crafting simple cocktails at home.
Finally, the recipes:
In a rocks glass, add:
• 2 oz bourbon or aged rum
• 1-2 tsp sugar syrup
• 1 dropper Crude Orange-Fig Bitters
Add one large ice cube, and stir until chilled. Orange or lemon peel garnish optional.
In a mixing glass, add:
• 3 oz rye whiskey
• 1 oz sweet vermouth
Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Add 8-10 drops Crude Orange-Fig bitters (or Hibiscus-Lavender-Oak bitters) to top.
Want to up your cocktail game? The Bittery offers cocktail classes monthly for a schedule visit, bittersbittersbitters.com/classes